Bobby teaches his parents a camp song on ‘Mad Men’

The last time Mad Men came close to ending up at summer camp with references to Sally’s friend Glenn being away at camp the scenes of Glenn talking on the phone at camp made it look more like a college dormitory with a pay phone in the hallway than an actual camp.

On “The Better Half,” the ninth episode of season six, the show gets closer to camp but still falls well short of re-creating scenes of summer camp in the ’60s. In the episode, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and ex-wife Betty (January Jones) run into each other at a country gas station on their way to visit their son Bobby (Mason Vale Cotton) at camp for what we can only assume is parents weekend. 

They never show them at camp; instead they show them meeting up with Bobby, who is wearing a dirty white polo with a indian head logo on it, at a diner/lake resort. The diner has wood paneling and fish on the wall but it’s clearly a diner and not a camp dining hall. While there, Bobby teaches his parents “Father Abraham,” a song he’s learned at camp, managing to even get Don to pump his fist in the air and sing along.

The event that has had everyone buzzing since the episode aired on May 26, 2013, occurs later on in the episode at the hotel/lake resort where Don and Betty are both staying and save for another quick scene the next morning in the diner – Betty smiling and eating breakfast with her husband as though she didn’t just have an affair with her ex the night before – we don’t see Bobby, aka “Bobby 5,” or any of the other campers again.

In fact, we never do get to hear the name of the camp. We do, however, learn that Betty went to camp as a kid and the closest Don came to camp was a lake retreat he went to with Betty that was significant in both of their lives because it’s where Sally was apparently conceived.

Below is a screenshot of Bobby and Betty singing “Father Abraham.” The episode is available to watch online at Amazon.

bobbymadmensingingfatherabraham

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at Tangzine.com and MatthewRalph.com. I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

Leave a Response